HR opportunities in Steven Slater's unconventional exit from a JetBlue airplane

Flight attendant Steven Slater’s unconventional exit from a JetBlue plane struck a chord with many. Asked about this by CBS News, workplace psychologist Ben Dattner (*) said,

“When people feel that they have no control over their workplace environment, and that they are getting blamed anyway, they can snap.”

Even though many sympathize with Slater, few ever give notice or get noticed like him.

Which is not to say that workers and employers are without options when it comes to creating workplaces that work for all concerned – employers, employees and customers. Here are some ideas:

1. Employee opinion surveys are a great way to get a pulse of the workplace. These surveys can be designed to gauge worker morale and commitment, workplace culture and climate, or any other issues (such as change readiness) that are front and center in organizational life. We also sell employee survey norms which are indispensable when it comes to assessing how your organization ranks compared to other similar organizations.

2. Individuals can take a range of assessments to learn more about themselves and to design a course of action that can lead to greater personal effectiveness and a more fulfilled life. An example is the Full Engagement Profile from Human Performance Institute, which was featured on the Oprah show a few years ago.

3. Customer satisfaction surveys are a great way to get a read on customers’ perceptions. For example, Steven Slater has emerged as a hero, because he stood up to a passenger who failed to comply with safety guidelines. An airline that knows of this and other customer frustrations (like tiny peanut packets!) and devises a way to eliminate or manage them is sure to have a leg up on its competitors.

4. Indeed, tying employee rewards to customer satisfaction is a win-win. Over the years we have implemented such programs for large corporations such as Prudential Relocation and Nortel Networks.

* We are currently working with Ben Dattner to develop a companion assessment to his book, “The Blame Game: How the Hidden Rules of Credit and Blame Determine Our Success or Failure”, which is expected to be out in March 2011.

This press release was distributed through PR Web by Human Resources Marketer (HR Marketer: on behalf of the company listed above.